Useful free software to fire up your PC

If you own a PC, chances are high that you've already reached deeply into your pockets and parted with sizeable sums of cash for applications that can be downloaded for free.

Think of any application you're ever likely to need and chances are that there's a free version available online. After hours spent slaving over a hot keyboard, I've tracked down a treasure trove of online freebies for your computing pleasure.



DIGITAL PHOTOS



Picassa



Available free from picasa.google.com, there's not much Picassa can't do. Able to manage huge photo libraries, tagging and finding photos you forgot you ever had is almost effortless. Getting rid of red-eye and do other photo corrections: Total cost nada. Creating online albums and making slideshows, sticker price, Free. Doing digital photography with Picassa: Priceless - even if its free.



The Gimp



If your image editing needs are a little more extreme, get the Gimp it's way cheaper. Whilst you could plunk down several hundred bucks for a commercial photo editing app, try dropping into gimp.org and downloading the industrial strength open source photo editing app.

VLC



There are a million different digital video formats and until the advent of VLC, playing these needed multiple video player applications and a cluster of different video codecs. Not with VLC media player, which plays a multitude of audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs and a multitude of other streaming formats.



PRODUCTIVITY



Open Office



Shrink wrapped office software needn't cost a bomb. Open Office does the full office monty including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics and databases. These are no lightweight apps either, with the word processor able spell check, do complicated layouts and read Microsoft Word files, there's a lot to like about Open Office, especially its ultra low (free) price. Get your very own copy of Open Office here.



Thunderbird & Lightning



As sweet as scoring a free full function Office software suite may be, being truly productive requires access to an industrial grade email app. Thank goodness for Thunderbird. Rock solid and Fully customisable, Thunderbird allows you to organise mail, RSS feeds and newsgroup folders whilst allowing messages to be tagged so you can stay on top of a bulging email in-box. Mozilla's best feature however is its zero dollar price tag.

If Thunderbird has one downside, it's the lack of an integrated calendar for scheduling appointments and meetings. Lightning takes Mozilla one step further by adding calendaring directly into Thunderbird, allowing you to easily perform email-related calendaring tasks.



Cute PDF



Acrobat files may have become the de facto standard for electronic documents, unfortunately until now, creating .PDF formatted files was a pricey undertaking. Thanks to a freebie called CutePDF Writer, nearly any Windows application capable of printing is now able to create PDF documents.



MULTIMEDIA



SongBird



If you're looking for a powerful music library management app and are tired of your current music running like a bloated dog, try Songbird for size. Its a free download and is an open-source music player on steroids. With support for a growing number of MP3 players, Songbird also has robust music playlist management features and a growing library of plug-ins for customisability.

MediaPortal



Unless you're lucky enough own a Media Centre-equipped version of Windows Vista, converting your PC into a full-blown, music and movie playing media hub used to be a tricky undertaking. Not any more however thanks to MediaPortal, a free download that'll make your PC/TV a fully fledged media centre capable of letting you to listen to music, watch videos, DVDs and record live TV.



LastFM



More than just a free app, lastFM is a great way to listen to and discover new music online. Once you've registered, download the free lastFM application, which will keep your Last.fm profile updated with what you've been listening to on your PC or MP3 player. As Last.fm learns more about the music you like, the more it'll dish up thats close to your musical preferences.







MediaPortal



Unless you're lucky enough own a Media Centre-equipped version of Windows Vista, converting your PC into a full-blown, music and movie playing media hub used to be a tricky undertaking. Not any more however thanks to MediaPortal, a free download that'll make your PC/TV a fully fledged media centre capable of letting you to listen to music, watch videos, DVDs and record live TV.



LastFM



More than just a free app, lastFM is a great way to listen to and discover new music online. Once you've registered, download the free lastFM application, which will keep your Last.fm profile updated with what you've been listening to on your PC or MP3 player. As Last.fm learns more about the music you like, the more it'll dish up thats close to your musical preferences.



SYSTEM UTILITIES



Ccleaner



If your system has slowed to a crawl, don't despair, download Ccleaner, a fantastic PC decrapifier and give your machine a quick spring clean. Able to identify and clean stray files, cookies and other accumulated digital detritus, Ccleaner can make a huge difference and best of all, its a freebie.



Disk Keeper Lite



If your PC is still running like a sloth on valium, chances it could be suffering from a fragmented hard drive. As information is moved on and off your PCs hard drive files become "fragmented", slowing down the process of accessing data. Disk Keeper Lite re-organises files and free space back into contiguous blocks, greatly speeding things up.



Undelete Plus



Ever nuke a file only to later regret it? Undelete Plus is a free utility that'll undelete files even if they've been emptied from the recycle bin. Undelete Plus borders on being idiot-proof to drive and will scan any selected drive to present you with a list of recoverable files.





If your system has slowed to a crawl, don't despair, download Ccleaner, a fantastic PC decrapifier and give your machine a quick spring clean. Able to identify and clean stray files, cookies and other accumulated digital detritus, Ccleaner can make a huge difference and best of all, its a freebie.



Disk Keeper Lite



If your PC is still running like a sloth on valium, chances it could be suffering from a fragmented hard drive. As information is moved on and off your PCs hard drive files become "fragmented", slowing down the process of accessing data. Disk Keeper Lite re-organises files and free space back into contiguous blocks, greatly speeding things up.



Undelete Plus



Ever nuke a file only to later regret it? Undelete Plus is a free utility that'll undelete files even if they've been emptied from the recycle bin. Undelete Plus borders on being idiot-proof to drive and will scan any selected drive to present you with a list of recoverable files.



This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald - http://www.nzherald.co.nz









Suggested Topics
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
VIDEO
Life & Style
The exterior of a central London Angus Steakhouse
food + drink
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Apprentice IT Technician

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

    1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

    £153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

    Sales Associate Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

    Apprentice C# .NET Developer

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We provide business administration softw...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit